Before our last week in North Yorkshire, had any chance to gain traction I received a notification from Airbnb regarding searches for places to stay in Wales. Apparently, the searches had increased by 300% since the last time I looked, which was actually only the previous day. I wondered if there was a big event on, or perhaps school term break or just a rare fine weekend?
We were hoping for the later.
In the end, I didn’t book through Airbnb, the selection wasn’t that great and to be honest not that much cheaper than going through Booking.com. We were looking for having a place where we could come and go as we please.
We started our roadtrip from North Yorkshire with our first night in Shrewsberry. I’m not sure about you though when I say the name a ridiculously wide grin appears on my face and I remember those jam filled biscuits with a hole in the middle that was just big enough to put a this child’s finger in. The rule I thought was to gain enough on your finger before biting into the said biscuit. Those biscuits I remember are not at all similar to the ones that most people on this side of the world can relate to. They have a different variation of Shrewsberry Biscuits. Not to worry as I am sure that both varieties are just as tasty as the other.
What were our thoughts on our short visit to the Medieval city of Shrewsbury?
It looked similar to Chester whom we had visited on another occasion which also included a return from up north. We were to find out that it did not have as many grandeur buildings, homes or the upbeat feel like the city of Chester. Though it did have a few things that caught our imagination and interest. One such object was a sculpture by the river acknowledging Darwin’s groundbreaking scientific ideas and his impact on the scientific world. Photo courtesy of The Squire.
Then we headed to the town centre to walk around a few streets designated to where Darwin frequented many years ago, for more information Darwin Town Trail.
For a treat, we had the most scrumptious afternoon tea, which made it an enjoyable icing on another slice of England. Though I do wonder if we had not previously visited Chester would we have thought Shrewsbury lacklustre? Perhaps not.
The next day we had something to look forward to, a few days in Wales heading through Snowdonia. Here are a few highlights of our roadtrip through Wales.
Where did we stop and explore in Wales?
We had all our senses on alert with our first stop to explore in “The Historic Gateway to Wales”. Firstly, with the smell of fresh air after a dollop of rain, is there such a thing? Then the taste of water without calcium, accompanied with a good dose of caffeine. With a walk came the sound of rushing water and a train all in the same area. Then enchanting silence with a stroll alongside the canal, which has horse-drawn canal boats.
This canal was the “internet” of that era, the lifeline for transporting news and goods between towns. It was to be undone by the introduction of the railways.
The visual was so many things, the buildings, the historic bridge and most of all it was enjoying the bush covered hills with mist disappearing as the morning progressed. They seemed to gently embrace this small town that is steeped in mystic.
Even though this is very much a tourist destination, it still makes you feel like it is indeed still an undiscovered gem. The combination of attractions and locals living their every life makes this small town worth more than a day’s visit.
We were instantly in love with Wales. Of course, this love affair was strengthened with the beautiful weather.
I loved the combination of coloured houses, castle ruins and old brick buildings. The small businesses vying for your custom weren’t at all pushy and overly touristy. It was a right combination of attracting tourism and creating an atmosphere of vitality for locals to work and live in. An enjoyable place to explore for a few hours and to have an early morning tea in a small cafe run by a young lad and his mother.
As we came closer to Conwy, the first thing that is noticeable is, of course, the castle, which dominates this town. We weren’t at this stage interested in spending too much time in a larger town/city as we enjoy the smaller quaint villages and towns. So it was a quick visit, though a place to consider having a more extended acquaintance with down the line sometime!
Snowdonia National Park
Here are a few highlights and definitely not all that we saw, so much beautiful vistas to many too share on here.
Then there was this lake called Llyn Padarn that took our breath away, and luckily for us, it was not a cold wind that did it, just the grandeur of the place. Which meant some great reflections for us to capture and enjoy.
After taking numerous photos, of the area and a train that just happened to appear on the scene, it was time for a leisurely walk with some gravel paths and paddocks if like us you go slightly off the beaten track. Which brought us from Llyn Padarn to Llyn Peris to where the castle is situated on a hill.
We then headed into the township of Llanberis and then there were the bright coloured buildings that soon brought a smile as we wandered up and down deciding which colour was the best. Oh, and did I mention the huge ice-cream? Well, we couldn’t resist a purchase of two exotic favours from the Ice-Cream shop, which happened to be the green building, would’ve been rude not to go in. We saw it as supporting the local business and choosing not to think about our waistlines that warm afternoon.
This town indeed creates a few WOW moment during our time in Wales. To be honest, it wasn’t until we drove into the sparsely populated areas of Snowdonia our introduction to Wales became more enjoyable.
Is a small mountain village which we stopped and admired the view, nothing more or less than that.
The Ugly House
Set in a picturesque tree-lined road in a valley is a cafe worth a stop for a late afternoon energy boost. It is easily missed as it is tucked away by the hillside around a bend by a bridge. Luckily the Squire is good at sudden stops when I say “Here it is” leaving him very little time to digest what I have said let alone turn the wheel into a safe position by the roadside. Somehow he manages to do all tasks with a mutter under his breath and eventually with a smile when I tell him it is supposed to have very yummy food and coffee.
Another one of those picturesque villages in Snowdonia that is worth a moment or two to turn off the car engine and “be-in-the-moment”.
Mallwyd – Brigands Inn
In this little community is a lovely quaint old building called Brigands Inn and where we got to rest our weary bodies. After of course having a small bite to eat in their restaurant, which was not overly priced and the food very enjoyable. Being of grand old age the building’s floors were uneven and squeaky which did add to the ambience of staying in a 17th century Inn.
After travelling sitting down is not usually required or wanted, especially by us. It was then a lovely sight to see a map of where we could go for a short walk before dinner. What a thoughtful thing to do for your guests. It was a scenic walk down a narrow country road heading down to a stream with of course an ancient bridge.
The next day we were greeted with another beautiful day, well, as fine looking as Wales can get. Not wholly blue sky, though it wasn’t cold and raining, so we were very grateful. Our departure from the Inn also signified our leaving of Snowdonia National Park and heading to the Coast.